Mormons and Disagreement

This writing comes from two separate conversations/thoughts. First, there is this idea that runs around that if one doesn’t agree with every single thing that the LDS Church teaches on every single matter, then that person is not a true Mormon. Second, I had a great conversation on the golf course a few days ago with a pastor from Texas and some of the ways that he described various things really stood out to me. Since the first point really needs no expansion or discussion, it simply stands on its own, I will talk more about my conversations with the pastor.
So, the way this particular conversation came up is that I asked him about an article that I had seen online where the writer of the article made it clear that he does not believe that the Presbyterian Church is a Christian church anymore because they are now open and accepting of homosexuals. In that same sense, the writer is also saying that churches like the MCC, UCC, and ELCA are not Christian either. The pastor said that he strongly disagreed with this line of thinking because Christianity is not, in his view, defined by one particular doctrine or sin, but that being Christian is defined by an affirmation of the Creeds. He noted that the creedal documents never mention homosexuality. I found this interesting and also very applicable to the LDS context.
Now, some are probably saying that we have no creeds. Yet, I believe that we do. At least we have one of them. That would be the Articles of Faith. In the Articles of Faith, we see our base definition of the Godhead, the organization of the church, priesthood, revelation, and other things. So, to me, if a person affirms those things that are in the Articles of Faith, he or she is a “Mormon.” What would make a person not Mormon? Well, if a person does not believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that person is probably not “Mormon.” If a person does not believe in the three members of the Godhead, that person is probably not “Mormon.” If a person does not believe that God can speak to us and guide us today, that person might not be “Mormon.” These things are key factors in the definition of the LDS faith. However, I think other things have happened, at least among members.
It would seem that the definition of Mormon has been expanded to include all things related to any doctrine of the faith. Meaning we would say that if someone supports homosexual marriage then that person can’t, in good conscience, claim to be Mormon. If a person doesn’t believe that wearing white shirts to church has somehow been commanded of God and that white shirts must be worn every Sunday, then that person cannot claim to be Mormon. If you think thoughts and opinions like this do not exist, just go troll around on some of the Mormon Facebook pages or blogs. This stuff is out there. If you drink coffee or smoke a cigar, you can’t call yourself a Mormon.
Now, I want to make sure I am clear here, I’m not trying to say one way or another that any of these previous beliefs or actions are right or wrong. I’m not trying to say that following commandments isn’t a profession of faith and a sign that we believe things. But I am saying that one single commandment, or even several of them, are not what makes one “Mormon” or not. Someone could be a homosexual who drinks a pot of coffee a day but believe in the statements contained in the Articles of Faith and still in good conscience consider himself or herself a Mormon. Certainly a debate would be had as to whether a person who drinks a pot of coffee a day is a “good” Mormon, because he or she is obviously breaking a commandment, but that single commandment is not what determines whether one is Mormon. Perhaps we should keep this in mind when thinking about what makes a person Mormon or not. And, as always, this is simply my opinion. Peace be with you.


5 thoughts on “Mormons and Disagreement

  1. Agellius says:

    I think talking about whether someone is a “good” Mormon is the way to go. You can say that someone is not a good Mormon to the extent that he rejects or disregards certain Mormon teachings, whether small or large, even if he is a good Mormon in other respects.

    • J.K. Moore says:

      I, personally, wouldn’t comment that a person is “good” or not. No one is perfect. I’d say that just about everyone in every church disregards something from scripture.

  2. Agellius says:

    I don’t mean morally good, I mean good at being a Mormon. I’m a good Catholic to the extent to which I obey the commandments and my Church’s teachings, and a bad one to the extent that I don’t. My point is that my shortcomings don’t disqualify me from being a Catholic at all, they only detract from my being a good one.

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